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How can you "not be you"?

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How can you "not be you"?
Answer
10/9/18 3:32 PM
I know this is content, so not letting it be an obstacle to practice.
But just for kicks, wish I knew what Shunryu Suzuki was talking about, and his deal on "being like a frog".
Dogen-zenji commented on this koan. He said, "When the Horse-master becomes the Horse-master, Zen becomes Zen." When Baso becomes Baso, his zazen becomes true zazen, and Zen becomes Zen. What is true zazen? When you become you! When you are you, then no matter what you do, that is zazen. Even though you are in bed, you may not be you most of the time. Even though you are sitting in the zendo, I wonder whether you are you in the true sense.

RE: How can you "not be you"?
Answer
10/9/18 7:13 PM as a reply to Jack.
Jack:
I know this is content, so not letting it be an obstacle to practice.
But just for kicks, wish I knew what Shunryu Suzuki was talking about, and his deal on "being like a frog".
Dogen-zenji commented on this koan. He said, "When the Horse-master becomes the Horse-master, Zen becomes Zen." When Baso becomes Baso, his zazen becomes true zazen, and Zen becomes Zen. What is true zazen? When you become you! When you are you, then no matter what you do, that is zazen. Even though you are in bed, you may not be you most of the time. Even though you are sitting in the zendo, I wonder whether you are you in the true sense.


aloha jack,

   Dogen also commented on the koan about the young monk just arriving at hui-neng's place. The monk paying his respects in the ordinary way, hui-neng suddenly confronted him with the question, "what is it that thus comes?"

the dalai lama's version:

Huineng asked him, “Where do you come from?”
Nanyue  said, “I come from the National Teacher An on Mt. Song.”
Huineng  said, “What is it that thus comes?”
The Master was without means [to answer].
After studying with Huineng for eight years, he finally understood the previous conversation.
Thereupon, he announced to the Ancestor, “I’ve understood what you put to me when I first came:  ‘What is it that thus comes’”
Huineng  asked, “How do you understand it?”
Nanyue   replied, “To say it’s like anything wouldn’t hit it.”

   You can't conceptualize Mind. You can only dissolve into it like a lump of salt in the ocean. When you are yourSelf you are oceanic, present everywhere at once eternally. Understanding and knowledge are impediments to the Way, and intelligence is a hindrance.

   When you completely let go of attachment, you are "you." This is true zazen because no one is doing anything. The delusion of individual selfhood may exist even in dreams. As rumi says, "God is the Only Real Agent"; this is implied by the formula, "There is no god but God." Similarly, "I am that I am."

   When "you are you" there is no difference between "you" and "God" - nondually one continuum. This cannot be conceived of or understood, only realized as the Great Mystery. Only zazen provides the gateless gate to the Way, and becomes the Way. "You" are the Way. As nietzsche said (freely rendered), "look intelligently into the abyss, and the abyss will look intelligently back." You and the abyss are One. You are the world, and many worlds. The Great Pearl itself. Trying to understand only pushes it away; dwelling in silence draws it near. Dwell ceaselessly in silence, in zazen, and you are you, as I am that I am, as gods are God, and (to dogen) beings are Being.

   We (and our objects) are mostly "as if" we (they) were real, is suzuki roshi's point. To truly be your real self is to forget yourself completely and just be, without effort or desire, luminous and free. Make yourself clear and all things will be clear. When everything is clear understanding comes naturally as needed to express ourselves. It is not pursued.

   To paraphrase wittgenstein: what cannot be conceived of can only be approached in Silence.

terry


Simple Gifts
(by elder joseph)

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

RE: How can you "not be you"?
Answer
10/10/18 10:35 PM as a reply to Jack.
Thanks for your reply, Terry. 
I'm fine with the part of "you being you".
But how can you not be you? What is an instance of this "not-being" that is so unhelpful.
I agree intelligence is a hindrance: So why does Suzuki Roshi even bring up this concept of you 
not being you? Concepts hinder.
Not questioning this in order to free myself, just for a bit of fun emoticon

RE: How can you "not be you"?
Answer
10/11/18 2:35 AM as a reply to Jack.
Jack:
Thanks for your reply, Terry. 
I'm fine with the part of "you being you".
But how can you not be you? What is an instance of this "not-being" that is so unhelpful.
I agree intelligence is a hindrance: So why does Suzuki Roshi even bring up this concept of you 
not being you? Concepts hinder.
Not questioning this in order to free myself, just for a bit of fun emoticon

aloha jack,

    For instance: I saw a movie one time featuring the wolverine. At one point, the guy was on the run with his mentor and daughter, and he's getting increasingly frustrated and upset. Then his mentor dies, and he really flips out. He heads out to his truck and it won't start. He starts banging on the truck, doing it further damage. He lays down in the middle of the highway and screams and cries in rage, utterly out of control.

   I like to think of that scene as really epitomizing attachment. When people are attached, they are "not themselves." They "act out," they do and say things they later regret, and claim they were "not themselves" or perhaps impaired or even unconscious.

   This is the obvious response to your question. We can go deeper.

   Heidegger points out that we are all conformists. If we weren't, no one would understand us. We condition each other from babyhood to do things the way others do, to conform to what "they" think. Hubert dreyfus uses the example of the way different cultures have an optimum distance between people for effective conversation. If you get too close, they draw back; if you get too far away, the press closer. In international gatherings, says dreyfus, subsaharan africans tended to push scandinavians into a corner, as they tried to get closer and the scandinavians drew back. Another example: when you watch sports on tv, or when an athlete watches film, your muscles tend to imitate what you are seeing, like monkey see monkey do, or the way babies learn to smile. Watch a fight and your body bobs and weaves with the punches. We are imitaters and conformists by nature, these are natural coping skills that we adopt entirely unconsciously (though they may become conscious).

   When we walk into a classroom, or an office, or our shop or workplace, or a grocery store, hospital, post office - we don't have to think about how to act. We are familiar with the way classrooms operate, you take a seat, you face front, you listen to the teacher, take notes, surreptiously text friends and family, and so forth. Same with every other familiar environment, or "world." If you have never been in a classroom before, it is far different. You are unsure, dependent. My son recently went on the haj, and on the plane sitting next to him was a woman who had never been on a plane, and in fact had never seen a seat belt and could not figure it out; he had to help her and explain by signs and gestures and smile and act supportive in her distress.

   We are rewarded for conformity. We are accepted, smiled upon and caressed; attaboy, good job, great work; aren't you pretty made up and dressed nice; you're such a smart child, such a brave little girl. We learn early to go along to get along. We fear stepping out of line. We don't merely conform as necessary, but try to be more conformist than the next person, to increase the positive feedback we learn to crave and enjoy. (Chuang tzu contrasted the fish swimming freely and alone in the deep water to the masses of fish flopping about in the shallows, moistening each other with spit and slime.)

   The dhamma requires that we give up the delusion that we can benefit ourselves at the expense of others. "Give up ego" - this is  the buddhist doctrine of anatta, or anatman, that is, non-self. 

   Once you have heard of this doctrine, it is transformative whether you like it or not. You learn to question conformity, beginning to realize it is "not you." You must conform to live but after being 97% conformist, you still have that 3% of authenticity that is possible for you. You can go against what "they" think with equanimity, if you are free, and proclaim the truth as you see it. You can learn to accept, without turning away, the heart break of conforming to social evils. And of acting out of attachment, while being committed to spirituality (like paul, romans 8). We are socially conditioned as a survival instinct, this is inescapably human; our social conditioning is our real environment, the walls within which we dwell.

   One conceives of being free, and by nature and destiny may escape the artifical bounds of conformity into real freedom and dignity. Mere explanation is not enough: it takes real commitment and devotion to penetrate to the Ground of Being and realize your true independence and freedom. Or maybe grace. Possibly drugs.

   I've been looking for the quote from idries shah about teachers, but the concept goes something like this: people imagine that a spiritual teacher is the kind of person who has loving disciples at their feet who honor them and follow their principles. That the teacher is consistently warm and loving and supportive, a loving father figure who may occasionally be stern but has your ego's interests at heart. In truth real teachers are hated and reviled, feared and shunned, because they want to kill your ego and your ego wants to defend itself. The sufis say you can't be a real sufi until 1000 true believers have condemned you for heresy.

   I suggest you know very well what is to be not yourself. It is being genuinely and authentically "you" that is misty and unclear, and always will be.

   Nothing personal, bra. I am pleased you opened this can of spam, it is just the meat I enjoy.  ;-)


terry


from the tao te ching, trans feng:


chapter five

Heaven and Earth are impartial; 
They see the ten thousand things as straw dogs. 
The wise are impartial; 
They see the people as straw dogs.

The space between heaven and Earth is like a bellows. 
The shape changes but not the form; 
The more it moves, the more it yields. 
More words count less. 
Hold fast to the center.


   
added later: the reference to paul should have read romans 7:13-22...
   

RE: How can you "not be you"?
Answer
10/13/18 4:16 PM as a reply to Jack.
[quote=Jack

I agree intelligence is a hindrance: So why does Suzuki Roshi even bring up this concept of you 
not being you? Concepts hinder.]


aloha jack,

   I did not directly to respond to this question. Perhaps I should, as it impinges on the limits of understanding, a topic currently on one of my front burners.

   When we say that concepts are a hindrance, and that understanding and knowledge and intelligence are all obstacles to the Way, we are referring to one's actual practice. All mental contents, whether aggregated as form, perception, feeling, will or consciousness, are considered empty (of significance or stability). We open our minds (in meditation) to the emptiness, the space, which contains all known and unknown phenomenal reality. The emptiness itself is the nondual - "emptiness is form; form is emptiness." The phenomenal is not unreal, nor is it Real. The nondual is absolute and phenomenal.

   It should be obvious, though, that we use language and thus concepts to communicate, in the conventional manner, from apparent person to apparent person. We are all one but we must conform to convention if we want to communicate; as humans, communication is in our nature. Virtually every human, no matter how stupid, learns to communicate; next to tool-using it is our species most salient characteristic: gossip, for the most part. This makes communicating the ineffable or nondual very difficult, but not necessarily impossible. If our communication points to Mind, it is in effect silence. Aka expedient means. It remains for the effort to strike home; lightning is only potential until it hits ground.

   Thus, suzuki roshi speaks in words and concepts, like an ordinary person. But his words are "a finger pointing at the moon." The simple see only the finger; the wise see only the moon. The roshi is not an ordinary person, thus he is truly an ordinary person; the roshi is not a sage, thus he is truly a sage (diamond sutra). You must have it both ways, and neither way. 

terry



from 'the sixth patriarch's dharma jewel platform sutra,' trans buddhist text translation society:


“Those who grasp at emptiness slander the Sutras by maintaining that written words have no use. Since they maintain they have no need of written words, they should not speak either, because written words are merely the marks of spoken language. They also maintain that the direct way cannot be established by written words, and yet these two words, ‘not established’ are themselves written.

“When they hear others speaking, they slander them by saying that they are attached to written words. You should know that to be confused as they are may be permissible, but to slander the Buddha’s Sutras is not. Do not slander the Sutras for if you do, your offense will create countless obstacles for you.

“One who attaches himself to external marks and practices dharmas in search of truth, or who builds many Bodhimandalas and speaks of the error and evil of existence and non-existence will not see his nature for many eons.

“Listen to the Dharma and cultivate accordingly. Do not think of the hundred things, for that will obstruct the nature of the Way. Listening without cultivating will cause others to form deviant views. Simply cultivate according to the Dharma, and do not dwell in marks when bestowing it.”